‘His Dark Materials’ 2×03 Recap: ‘Theft’

Lyra goes to the movies!

His Dark Materials 2×03 “Theft”,” Aired November 30, 2020

Another trip to Oxford goes very badly and forces Will and Lyra to make a deal with Boreal. 

Let’s break down what happened in His Dark Materials this week! 


Lyra goes back to Oxford because she promised Mary she would. Pan disagrees with this plan because he thinks their priority should be finding Will’s dad (Pan is an Andrew Scott fanboy, this is now canon). As usual Lyra ignores Pan and does what she wants. So it’s back to the backpack for Pan. Will is not invited as Lyra has deemed Oxford too dangerous for him. Her heart is in the right place, but it’s bound to go wrong. Spoiler alert: it does! 

Lyra makes it back to St. Peter’s College, but Inspector Walter is there waiting for her and he’s got questions. This is a situation that doesn’t frazzle Lyra too much, she is after all, Lyra Silvertongue. The Inspector gets the best of her and she accidentally reveals her connection to Will and has to flee the lab. 

This is when things really start to go wrong. Lyra runs into Boreal and he offers her a ride. It will not surprise you that Boreal is the worst rescuer ever and steals the freaking alethiometer.  I told you Lyra shouldn’t have left Will behind.

Torre degli angeli

Will Parry is a carer, a caregiver. He has spent his young life taking care of his mother. It’s just part of who he is and it’s why the moment he realizes where Lyra is he doesn’t hesitate to go after her, despite knowing how dangerous Oxford is for him.  As different as these two can be and as much as they struggle to understand each other at times, they’re kindred spirits. 

Before we get there though, Will spends his morning wandering around Cittagazze looking for Lyra. Instead he finds Angelica who warns him  the Spectres are coming for him soon. Angelica also has time to give us a name for the tower in the middle of town, Torre degli Angeli. Will is certain he sees someone inside the tower, which should be impossible as there is no way in or out. 

A deal 

Back at Oxford, the first thing Will sees when he crosses over is Lyra at their Bench crying. She catches him up on the small matter of the stolen alethiometer and they agree they must go to Boreal’s place and get it back. Since they have to wait for night they do have enough time for a visit to the movies, where Lyra gets to watch Paddington and eats popcorn for the first time. 

At Boreal’s house, Boreal has the upper hand and he knows it. He admits he has the alethiometer and that he knows who they are. With some prompting Lyra finally recognizes him. Boreal has a proposal for them, he is willing to give them the alethiometer in exchange for a knife that the man in the Torre degli Angeli has. Will agrees to the deal. 

Searching for Lyra

This will probably come as a surprise to Lyra but everyone else in the show is looking for her. By the end of the episode it feels like everyone but Lyra is aware of the prophecy that centers around her. Let’s check with everyone who is looking for our girl. 

Lee Scoresby

Our favorite aeronaut continues on his search for Grumman. At a saloon he gets a lead that Grumman used to work at the Observatory in town. There he  gets a solid lead as to where Grumman is (Yenisei River). Too bad this was also a trap where Lee gets called a heretic, shot at, and arrested. 

Mrs. Coulter

Our favorite (?) evil mother ends up at the same town as Lee. Here she learns Lee’s been arrested and visits him to partake in her favorite hobby, interrogations! 

Lee and Mrs. Coulter quickly drop the pretense and admit they know who the other is. Their topic of conversation: Lyra. Lee is momentarily surprised to realize they both love Lyra, but it doesn’t win her any favors. Lee won’t share anything about Lyra with her mother. 

My life is worth one-tenth of hers. -Lee Scoresby about Lyra

Lee reveals an unexpected backstory for Mrs. Coulter. He recognizes in her someone who has suffered at the hands of abusive parents. It’s a choice, to be sure and a departure from the source material.  For Lee it’s part of why he doesn’t doubt Mrs. Coulter’s love for Lyra. It’s also why he understands that love won’t keep her safe. 

When Mrs. Coulter  gets a message from Boreal that he knows where Lyra, she makes the choice to free Lee. The implication is that as a mother, her motivation is Lyra’s safety above all.  Lee gets himself a boat and continues on his search. 


Our new physicist friend worries about Lyra’s safety. She’s trying to communicate with Dust using the Cave, but believes all her attempts to be futile. 

The Witches

They’re still mad at the Magisterium  for attacking their home and vow they will pay for their crimes, but their priority is still the prophecy and finding Lyra. Serafina’s deamon visits Iorek asking after Lyra, Iorek informs him about Lyra following Asriel into another world. 

Join us next week when Andrew Scott will finally make his appearance! 

His Dark Materials airs on HBO Monday nights and is available to stream on HBO Max. 


Gabriela Acevedo

Gaby is a TV-obsessed fangirl and writer. Television is her true love, but movies and books aren't far behind. Currently living in Los Angeles, she's originally from Puerto Rico, which is still her favorite place in the world. Find her on twitter @gabsteramy.

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